18 Mar 2012
Ex-Johannesburger, Greg Smith, is a Goldman Sachs executive that sent ripples through establishment circles with his whistle-blowing op-ed, published in the New York Times on Wednesday 14 March 2012 about why he resigned from the investment bank at the centre of the 2008 financial crisis.
The op-ed titled, "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs" was published on Smith's last day at the firm. It is a damning critique of the unaccountable greed-fueled corporate culture at Goldman Sachs, a company that preys on its own clients through duplicitous deals, the most notorious of which are the toxic sub-prime mortgage securities products that it sold to investors -- which ultimately led to the 2008 global financial crash, plunging the entire global economic system into meltdown and leading to a worldwide recession that has pushed millions into poverty.
Despite Goldman executives being hauled before the US Securities and Exchange Commission to account for the firm's wrongdoing, Goldman Sachs, which has close ties with the US treasury, is one of the banks that received tax-payer-funded bailout money to the tune of billions of dollars in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis.
Smith has the following to say about the present-day culture at Goldman Sachs: "… I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it."
For analysis about the implications of Smith's op-ed and the lack of reform on Wall Street, Al Jazeera talks to economist John Berlaw from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Marcus Stanley from Americans for Financial Reform and Felix Salmon, Reuters financial journalist.
Editor's Note: You might also be interested in this interview with "Matt Taibbi on the Explosive Resignation of Goldman Sachs Executive Greg Smith" from Democracy Now.